Wind Energy Lesson for Kids: Definition & Facts

Instructor: Rebecca Gillaspy

Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.

People have used the wind to do work for centuries. In the past, windmills were used to pump water and grind grain. Today, huge wind turbines are used to generate electricity. Learn about wind energy.

What Is Wind Energy

Take a deep breath in. Now, blow it all out. Congratulations, you just created wind! You could use that small burst of wind to do a small job, like blow out a candle or puff a strand of hair from your face. Nature also creates wind. That wind doesn't come from people blowing, so where does it come from?

The wind that we feel outside is caused by the Sun heating the Earth. Hot air rises from the land faster than it does from the water. This difference in air rising causes the movement of air that we call wind.

Wind in the natural environment is capable of doing big jobs. When we capture the power of the wind and use it to do work, we call it wind energy.

a wind turbine under repair
wind turbine

Wind energy is nothing new. The earliest settlers of America used windmills to help them pump water from wells, grind grain and do other jobs on their farms. Today, old-fashion windmills have been replaced by large wind turbines that can catch the power of the wind and turn it into electricity.

How Do Wind Turbines Work?

Wind turbines often have long blades that look like the petals of a flower. When the wind blows past the turbine, the blades turn. This turning is connected to parts inside the turbine which move another part called a generator. This changes the turning into electricity!

Some communities like wind turbines so much they 'grow them' on farms! Wind turbines can be grouped together into wind farms, which are wind power plants for the production of electricity. Of course, wind turbines are made out of steel and complicated machinery, so they don't grow, but if you've ever seen a wind farm, the turbines look like a field of giant white flowers.

a wind farm
wind farm

The electricity made by a wind farm is sent to a main power grid, which sends the electricity to homes and businesses.

Pros and Cons of Wind Energy

The Earth will never run out of wind, so wind is a renewable source of energy. Wind energy is also clean energy because it doesn't put any pollution into the air or water.

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